How To Create A Bootable Fedora USB Drive

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How To Create A Bootable Fedora USB Drive

Fedora Live USB Drive
Fedora Live USB Drive.

Thus far I have only shown you Debian based distributions but there are other distributions out there that have no common connection with Debian except for the Linux kernel.

Well actually the other distributions also provide access to the same applications as Debian but that is definitely where the similarities end. No that isn't quite right either, they also provide access to the same desktop environments.

The point I am trying to make is that Debian is a base distribution and from Debian other distributions were formed such as Ubuntu, SolyDXK, Crunchbang and Linux Mint. All of these distributions use the same packaging mechanism and provide access to the Debian repositories.

Other distributions exist that don't use the Debian repositories. These distributions have their own packaging mechanisms and their own repositories and if Debian ceased to exist tomorrow it wouldn't affect them one iota. 

(Click here for a guide to choosing a Linux distribution)

For the first part of the month I will be looking at Fedora including how to create a live USB, how to replace your current operating system with Fedora and there will also be a review comparing the differences between Fedora and Ubuntu.

In addition to this I will be highlighting another Linux desktop. Thus far I have shown you Unity, XFCE and Cinnamon. This month I will be looking at Gnome 3.

To get the month started this article shows how to download Fedora 21 and create a live bootable Linux USB drive. 

This guide assumes you are using Windows to create the USB drive and elaborates further on the method provided by this article.

In order to follow this guide you will require a blank USB drive, Windows and a working internet connection.

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How To Get Fedora Linux

Fedora Linux Website
Fedora Linux Website.

The Fedora Linux distribution has been simplified and now comes in three different formats:

The workstation version is the one you would use for general home use and the one that this article focuses on.

Click here to visit the main Fedora homepage which provides links to the three different formats.

To download the Workstation version, click the "Workstation" link from the website. You then have the option to download the latest 64-bit or 23-bitversion of Fedora.

Note that if you plan to install Fedora on a UEFI based computer you will need to download the 64-bit version.

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How To Get Rawrite32 - The NetBSD Image Writing Tool


There are a number of tools out there that can create a Fedora live USB drive but for the purposes of this article I will be showing you Rawrite32 (also known as "The NetBSD Image Writing Tool").

Click here to visit the Rawrite32 website to read more about the tool or click here for the downloads page.

The downloads page has 4 options:

  • The Win32 Setup Program
  • The Win32 Binary And Documentation
  • The raw executable zipped
  • The source code

The Win32 setup program lets you install Rawrite32 in the same way that you would install many other Windows applications. You should only choose this option if you intend to use the software on more than one occasion. If you are just using Rawrite32 to create a Fedora live USB drive then it is overkill to install the software.

The Win32 Binary And Documentation option is a zip file which extracts the files required to run Rawrite32 along with user documentation.

The raw executable zipped option is the same as the above except for the fact there is no user documentation. (Help links to the website).

The source code is useful for developers who want to add new functionality or fix bugs.

The best option for the sole purpose of creating a Fedora USB drive is the raw executable zipped option.

After the file has downloaded, extract the zip file and double click on file called "Rawrite32.exe".

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How To Create A Bootable Fedora USB Drive Using Rawrite32

Write Fedora Image With Rawrite32
Write Fedora Image With Rawrite32.

The Rawrite32 application has a simple interface.

Make sure that you have inserted a blank USB drive into your computer.

Click the "open" button and navigate to the downloads folder and find the Fedora image that you downloaded earlier on.

Click on the target dropdown list and choose the drive letter for your USB drive.

Before writing Fedora to the USB drive it is worth looking at the checksums listed in the program messages box.

How do you know that the image that you downloaded completed successfully and how do you know that it is an official image?

You can compare the checksums with the values on this page.

Clicking on the 64-bit link for Fedora 21 on the Fedora verification page shows the following information:

Hash: SHA256
4b8418fa846f7dd00e982f3951853e1a4874a1fe023415ae27a5ee313fc98998 *Fedora-Live-Workstation-x86_64-21-5.iso
Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)

If you compare the sha256  value within Rawrite32 with the sha256 value on the Fedora verfication page they should match. If they don't then you have a bad image and you should download it again.

If the keys match then you are good to go. Click the "Write to disk" button to create your live Fedora USB drive.

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Booting Into The Live Fedora USB Drive

Fedora Image Created
Fedora Image Created.

The Fedora image will now be written to the USB drive and a message will appear:

 1.37 gigabytes successfully written to disk


If your machine has a standard BIOS (i.e. not UEFI, although technically speaking UEFI is becoming more standard) then all you need to do to boot into a live version of Fedora is to reboot your computer with the USB drive still plugged in.

After rebooting you might find that your computer still boots into Windows. If this happens you will need to enter the BIOS settings and change the boot order of devices so that the USB drive appears before the hard drive.

If your machine has a UEFI bootloader then follow these steps to turn off fast boot and boot into Fedora.

That is it. In the next guide I will show you how to install Fedora.

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